For the last several days, Dutch parliamentarian and head of the Freedom Party Geert Wilders, who has to live in hiding because of death threats from Muslims, has been on trial in The Netherlands for exercising his rights to free speech by criticizing Islam and Muslim immigration to his country. He has been charged under laws against “inciting hatred,” which, in effect, criminalize thought and speech that deviates from a politically correct norm. At the opening of his trial, Wilders made a statement using truth as a defense and asking how a fact can be illegal:
Whether one agrees with Wilders or not about the problems and challenges posed by aggressive Islam (and I largely do), I should think everyone concerned with the fundamental liberties we consider unalienable would be worried by any attempt to punish a freeborn citizen for his or her opinions.
At Big Journalism, Rich Trzupek looks at the Wilders trial and what it says about the decadent state of Liberty in The Netherlands, where it is permissible to criticize Christianity, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, or any religion, but criticizing Islam is somehow “hate speech.” He offers two reasons: first, the dead hand of politically-correct multiculturalism, which declares all cultures of equal worth and free of criticism – unless it is Western culture being attacked. The second is simple fear: criticism of Islam can result in threats, violence, and even murder from Islamic supremacists.
Both are at play, along with a supine unwillingness to stand for those liberties the West has spent millennia building as a civilization, to declare their value and, indeed, their superiority, and to defend them against those who would hide behind them to advance their own illiberal, fascist agendas. In short, surrender.
The Wilders trial, taking place in a small corner of the world, should be something watched by all concerned for civil liberties.
LINKS: You can learn more at Defend Geert Wilders.